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DIII committee backs alcohol sales at joint championships

Recommendation calls for beer and wine to be permitted at events held with Division I

While Division III members have expressed little interest in allowing alcohol sales at standalone Division III championships, beer and wine may soon be permitted at any future joint championships held with Division I.

At its meeting last week in Indianapolis, the Division III Championships Committee recommended that alcohol sales be permitted during the Division III portion of joint championship events, provided each division’s event takes place in the same venue, not merely in the same city. Division I recently passed a policy that allows beer and wine sales at its championships if the host facility is able to meet certain requirements. Rather than prohibiting sales during Division III contests at joint championships, which could create logistical challenges for venues and create confusion for attendees, the committee felt a consistent policy throughout joint events was the most practical solution.

“Although we remain opposed to alcohol sales at Division III championships, we felt it would be best to collaborate and partner with Division I when in a joint championship setting,” said Jennifer Chuks, committee chair and assistant athletics director at Williams. “We understand joint championships are beneficial and enhance the student-athlete championship experience, which is why we have chosen to continue this partnership and make this recommendation.”

The action was sparked by the current format for championships in men’s lacrosse in which all three divisions hold their competitions at the same venue over the same time frame. A pilot program that allowed alcohol sales at that joint event was conducted in 2017 and 2018. The events did not produce a concerning level of fan misbehavior, and permitting sales during all three divisions’ championships ensured additional costs weren’t incurred to change alcohol-relevant signs and equipment between events.

“Since Division I has approved the sale of alcohol at their championships, we focused on reducing operational challenges that would occur as a result of different divisional policies at one venue,” Chuks said.

The Division III Management and Presidents Councils will review the recommendation when they convene this summer.

Swimming tiebreaker

The committee approved a recommendation from the Division III Men’s and Women’s Swimming and Diving Committee that the sport add a tiebreaker policy for championships selections. In swimming, ties will be broken among swimmers who have not already qualified in another event by determining who has the best performance in their next best event (by calculating their performance as a percentage of the “B” championship qualifying standard). In diving, the tie will be broken by comparing each of the divers’ total optional scores on the board height in which the tie has occurred.

Championship date changes

The Championships Committee denied the Division III Men’s and Women’s Soccer Committees’ request that a rest day be added to the finals site for their championships. Given that other sports have made similar requests, the Championships Committee plans to examine the issue across a range of sports in the future to ensure consistency rather than approve any changes in a piecemeal manner.